By: Terri Talley Venters
Deleted Scene from
Body Of Gold
Klaus placed the last gold ingots, Chip Gold, into the leather pouches as he waited for Mr. Smith to arrive at his smelting shop in the Old Town district of Chicago. Klaus spent most of his days making wrought-iron chandeliers and headboards, but the last twenty-four hours he spent laboring over this special project.
Like his father, grand-father, and great-grandfather, Klaus worked as a fourth-generation smelter. In fact, he worked in the same shop his forefathers did since 1890. He even lived in the same apartment above the shop, just like his ancestors. Only these days, Klaus rarely fitted a horse for new shoes. Now he ran the shop with his son, Hans, while he taught him the trade, as the tradition dictated.
The fifty-three-year-old, widower, Kraut, kept in excellent physical condition. His blonde-hair and blue-eyes kept the women turning their heads as he walked down the streets of his beloved Chicago, the only city he’d ever lived in. His labor-intensive trade kept his muscles strong, especially his forearms.
His German genes, simple lifestyle, and low-stress occupation kept the brutal signs of aging from rearing their ugly head. Since he looked twenty years younger, most people mistook Hans for his younger brother instead of his son.
Only today, Klaus felt seventy-three instead of fifty-three. This last project took its toll on him, but he didn’t have a choice. He felt certain Mr. Smith would make him “sleep with the fishes,” if he failed to comply with his unusual request.
Klaus’s family occasionally dealt with the Mob for the last ninety years. He recalled hearing the tales of the “Chicago Wise Guys” in his youth. Only they told him as bedtime stories like the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales.
He knew enough to fear their wrath, so he simply did as instructed. Klaus wasn’t convinced Mr. Smith represented a “made man,” but he treated him as such just in case. Mr. Smith appeared to be in his forties with dark hair and pale skin, a real charmer. He wore expensive suits and acted above the law.
“Klaus, mein Freund, is my treasure ready?” Mr. Smith asked. He appeared with his henchman, ready to take delivery of his gold ingots.
“Gross Gott, Herr Smith. Yes, your treasure awaits,” Klaus said. His arm waved towards the wooden crate, filled with leather pouches of gold ingots which Klaus painstakingly yielded from gold bars.
Klaus took every precaution when he melted the gold bars, rolled the metal into thin sheets, and then cut the sheets into small pieces weighing twenty-grams each. He properly ventilated his shop, wore a mask and gloves, and made certain to shield his body and lungs from the precious metal. Klaus worked with enough metals and alloys over his lifetime to know of the danger of cyanide residue.
“Danke,” Thank you, Mr. Smith said. He nodded his head towards his henchman, instructing him to retrieve the gold-filled, wooden crate which rested on the flatbed, wheeled dolly. Mr. Smith handed Klaus a check and led the treasure out to the awaiting truck.
“Guten Nacht, Herr Smith,” good night, Mr. Smith, Klaus said as the two men exited his workshop. He felt relieved having accomplished his special commission without any negative repercussions.
Klaus starred at the check in his hand for $150,000. He wondered if the bank would even honor it. He almost hoped the check bounced because he felt like he earned dirty money. It wasn’t how his ancestors raised him. Klaus’s parents raised a good, hard-working, German. And Klaus raised his son to be a hard-working German too. Klaus decided to deposit the check into his account, none-the-less, it represented a nice nest egg for him and his twenty-three-year-old son, Hans.
Klaus placed a hand on his forehead in a futile attempt to stop the intense pain throbbing behind his eyes. He stooped over and put his hands on his knees as he vomited all over the workshop floor.